Craig Dawson’s headed double inflicted a fourth defeat in five Premier League matches on Champions League-chasing Arsenal at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
Dawson rode into the six-yard box unmarked to fire the Baggies ahead from an early corner before Alexis Sanchez instantly responded for the Gunners, smashing the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Tony Pulis’ side then regained the lead when Hal Robson-Kanu – who had only come off of the bench 70 seconds earlier – slotted underneath David Ospina despite the efforts of Hector Bellerin on the line.
Olivier Giroud entered the fray as Arsenal searched for a critical equaliser but it was to be Dawson who had the last say, once again arriving unmarked from a corner to secure the win for the hosts.
The result means the Gunners remain five points adrift of Liverpool in fourth, whilst Manchester United have the chance to overtake their rivals if they beat Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon.
See over the next few pages for three things that we can take from Saturday’s early kick-off.
West Brom’s deadly set-piece streak continues
One message that would have been drilled into Arsenal’s starting line-up on Saturday afternoon before kick-off would be to, at all costs, watch out for West Brom’s distinct threat from set-pieces.
Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger, it took all of 12 minutes before defender Craig Dawson breached the Gunners’ non-existent defence, arriving into the six-yard box from a corner completely unmarked to glance a header past Petr Cech and into the net to give West Brom a deserved lead.
You would have thought, then, that they would have learnt from their first-half mistakes but Dawson once again popped up to secure his brace deep in the second-half, all but securing the three points.
The 26-year-old’s double – not surprisingly his first for West Brom – took West Brom’s tally to 18 goals scored from set-pieces this Premier League campaign, more than any other team in the division, and now means that 50% of the Baggies goals have come directly from dead ball situations.
Arsenal had only conceded two goals from set-pieces prior to their clash at The Hawthorns on Saturday, but a well-drilled tactic from Tony Pulis ensured they left for London with a damaging loss.